Setting up shop and exhibiting at a tradeshow is a great way to promote your business in front of a high number of your ideal clients. Yet it can be a budget buster when you take into account the some of the larger ticket items needed to have a good exhibit. This includes renting the space, flooring and furniture; having a booth custom designed; purchasing the actual fixtures and paying for shipping and material handling. Travel expenses, like airfare, ground transportation, meals and lodging, can also take a nice chunk of money.
To make sure you get the most of out of your tradeshow appearance, you should put some thought around what experience you want to create for attendees who visit your booth. Why is this important? Getting tradeshow visitors to stop for a visit can be a challenge. Attendees may be balancing their attendance with other activities, such as conferences and break out sessions. Not to mention they’re most likely being courted by other exhibitors, too, so their attention may be divided. Here are a few ways you can engage visitors at your booth:
Make your message visible. There are so many messages floating around a tradeshow, standing out in a sea of signs can be a challenge. Your tradeshow display should prominently show your company name and logo. Keep the graphics simple, and keep any messaging short, sweet and to the point.
Give them a reason to hang out for a while. Think of your tradeshow booth as an extension of your home or office. You would want to extend the courtesy of making your guests feel welcomed and comfortable. Make sure your booth is inviting. If you have the space, offer a small seating area or two. This seating arrangement can come in handy when you want to have a private conversation with key prospects.
Incorporate an element of interactivity. This can be as simple as a video message playing in a continuous loop on a flat screen. Add in some sort of gaming element, and take it one step further by creating a contest with special prizes.
Have beverages and snacks on hand. Walking a large tradeshow is tiring. People get thirsty, and their energy wanes. Offer a beverage, like bottled water, and some type of snack. It buys you time to have a conversation.
Provide special services. From chair massages and shoe shines, these are nice little touches that attendees can indulge in. While they wait their turn, you can engage them in a conversation to help pass time.
Give out good premium items. People love free trinkets, but pens and notepads are old news. Think about what cool gadgets your visitors would want to keep on their desk. That way, each time they look at it or play with it, they think of your company.
Come up with premium items that speak to your brand or the theme of your display or the conference. To show a concerted effort to be green, you could also load up branded USB drives with your material materials or a video with a special message.
Toys to take home to the kids are also popular. You can put your brand on pretty much anything from a yo-yo to a Rubik’s® Cube.
About the Author
Stephanie M. Faiella is a virtual marketing consultant and founder of www.AvantiMarCom.com, a virtual marketing department that helps small business owners who do not have on-site marketing support and struggle with finding time to execute on their marketing activities and want to move forward and gain bottom-line growth for their business. Stephanie offers a three-part video-series on Marketing Campaigns that Bring Home Bank at www.AvantiMarCom.com.